Eden Hazard spirit praised by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte

17 March 2017 02:23

Antonio Conte has praised Eden Hazard for showing the "great character" required to cope with the way he is targeted by opponents.

The forward admirably handled intense attention from Manchester United's defence during their 1-0 victory on Monday, continuing to attack with confidence and eventually give Chelsea full control.

United's Marcos Rojo even appeared to stamp on Hazard's chest late on at Stamford Bridge and will face no disciplinary action for the incident.

Hazard's consistent performances have made him one of the players of the 2016/17 Premier League season, in which Conte's team is expected to win the title.

Discussing the Belgian's contribution, the manager said: "Eden is showing great football but also has great character and great personality in every game.

"He is growing a lot in this aspect. For him, it's fantastic. Not only for him, but also for the team.

"In the first 20-25 minutes (against United) I saw only this type of situation for him, and it was impossible for him to play football.

"I don't like this, and I always want to face a team who want to play football and to beat us playing football. That's important."

Conte was also asked of the prospect of one of his squad being named the player of the season, and he replied: "It's too early to reply to this question. I hope that, at the end of the season, one of my players could be.

"It would mean we've won the league and, for me, it would be a great satisfaction to have one of my players winning this award.

"Until now it's important to be concentrated on the league and try and play game by game, to be focused. They are important but, if you don't win, they are not important."

Conte's predecessor as permanent Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho this week spoke of his frustration at United selling Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and Angel Di Maria prior to his arrival.

Mourinho, however, was at Chelsea when Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne and David Luiz were sold. The latter has since rejoined the club and Lukaku reportedly remains an expensive transfer target, but despite their clashes on Monday Conte has refused to criticise the Portuguese's judgement.

Ahead of the trip to Stoke on Saturday, when the Blues can strengthen their grip on top spot in the league, the Italian said: "In football it's not simple to give always a correct evaluation for players.

"Sometimes a player who, in the last two years or so, didn't play well goes on to have a fantastic season. That happens. But it's not right to talk about mistakes."

Source: PA


Trending on the forum